The Big Picture

We humans have a tendency to see everything from our own little perspectives.  This is the natural condition of 'fallen mankind'.  It is only 'natural' in the sense that we have no alternative perspective with which to compare our own perspectives.

That is where the Holy Scriptures come in handy.  They provide us with the vague ability to get God's perspective on everything.  But to have a real view of the 'big picture' one needs a revelation from God Almighty.

For example, did you know, dear reader, that God's ultimate goal for you is to know Him and Jesus Christ Whom He as sent?  It is recorded that Jesus made the statement that this knowledge of God and of Himself is 'eternal life'!! (reference John 17:3).

And did you also know, dear reader, that God's ultimate goal for all of His creation is 'new heavens and a new earth in which dwells righteousness'? (reference 2 Peter 3:13).  That, dear friend, is my idea of 'the big picture'!!

The third Scripture which comes to my mind is what Jesus told Nicodemus:

John 1:17  For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came about through Jesus Christ.

The heart of this passage is the message that 'the Law [consisting of basic rules of what is acceptable and pleasing to God] came through Moses, but grace and truth [the God-given ability to know the Law and to satisfy the Law and the Lawgiver Himself] come to us only through Jesus Christ.  Why, you might ask?  It is because we, in our fallen condition, are unable to live for God.  This because we are designed to live in union with God through Jesus Christ as branches live as long as they are part of a vine.  But we are stuck living only for ourselves, and cannot know God or do His will without a complete transformation because we have been separated from The Vine (Jesus).  When we accept this truth about our real condition and God's provision for reconciliation with Him, then by grace we are able to ask for and receive not only forgiveness, but also re-birth from God.

Fortunately God, in His goodness, has arranged for that transformation to be possible to everyone who recognizes his or her need for it!

2Cor 5:15  He [Jesus Christ] died for all people, so that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for the One Who died and rose for them.

I like to explain it this way:  Jesus died the hard way so that we can die the easy way - not physical death, but death to selfishness, pride and control so that Jesus can live in us for God by His selflessness, humility and trust in God's control!

So, I suggest that you, dear reader, try asking God to give you His perspective on your life, and suggestions how you might be transformed to be acceptable and pleasing to Him!

Another thought.  The Bible refers to 'the second death', but makes no direct reference to the implied 'first death':

Rev_2:11  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt by the second death.

Rev_20:6  Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. The second death has no authority over these, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and will reign with Him a thousand years.

Rev_20:14  And death and hell were cast into the Lake of Fire. This is the second death.

Rev_21:8  But the fearful, and the unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, will have their part in the Lake burning with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.

So, what is the first death?  Is it physical death?  I do not think so, because those who live and remain until Christ returns will not taste of death (which I presume is physical death).

My understanding of what the implied 'first death' is is this:  The first death is death to self according to the plan of God.  I believe that God's overall plan for His creation is found in the parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32).  He created everything in perfect working order, give us free will (because freedom of choice is an essential aspect of love), and then allows us to go astray from Him after our own ways in the hope that after we waste the provision which God has made for us with 'loose living' and end up in the pigsties of life as slaves of some unloving master, we will come to our senses and realize that being God's slave is much better than being free and on our own!  It is this death to 'our own way' (which is the key to eternal life of knowing God as He really is, and living with Him and for Him for eternity) which constitutes the 'first death'.

This fundamental truth has not been hidden from our adversary, satan, so he makes every attempt he can to keep people ( who are made in God's image) from experiencing the first death so that we will be bound to suffer the second death referred to above in the Book of Revelation.

Jesus, of course, realized this ultimate issue of human life, and gives us the key to eternal life in the following verse of Scripture:

Mat_16:25  For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

So, I encourage you, dear reader, to lose your life for Jesus' sake so that you may find real, eternal life in God!  And how does one do so?  I suggest that you ask Jesus what to do.  He is alive and eager to give you all the understanding you need to end your life and gain eternal life from Him.  I have found that if I am in any way really seeking God and His will for my life then God knows how thick my skull is and is able to make known to me whatever I need to know and the grace to do what I need to do to fulfill His plans and purposes for my life.  WE DON'T HAVE TO FIGURE IT OUT!  (Yahoo!)

When I realized that God could not do any worse at managing my life than I was doing, it was an easy choice to turn to Him in unconditional surrender.  I ask Him to do whatever He wanted to do with my life except to give me dead religion.  He did not seem to mind that restriction at all! {grin}